Health is a basic and fundamental human right that is always a top concern expressed by crisis-affected people. Unhealthy communities cannot cope nor recover effectively or become resilient to further crises. Without addressing the health needs of crisis-affected people, the health targets of the Sustainable Development Goals cannot be realised. A shifting global landscape means that threats to health are at an all-time high, do not respect national boundaries, and can create serious wider humanitarian consequences. Meanwhile, attacks on healthcare and denial of access are a frequent feature of today’s armed conflicts.
Health should be at the centre of collective humanitarian action and the distinctive nature of health action during emergencies upheld in accord with established humanitarian principles, medical ethics, and international humanitarian law. The universal moral dimension to health can help build the confidence and trust necessary for peace-building.
Recognising that if we fail in health, we fail in the overall humanitarian endeavor, this global undertaking has five objectives:
Enable all crisis-affected people to gain access to an essential health package that is adaptable to local needs and circumstances
Improve collaboration among health, humanitarian, and development partners, greater inclusion of local actors, and accountability for health outcomes using standardized indicators and context-specific targets
Better prepare for, and respond more effectively to infectious hazards and outbreaks by investing in the core capacities of the International Health Regulations, national public health systems, as well as by engaging with communities
Prevent attacks and protect healthcare delivery through better documentation; advocacy with all warring parties, engaging communities on best practices that prevent and halt violence against or denial of healthcare; and ending impunity through robust national legislation and policies, as well as recourse to international mechanisms when necessary.